Do you baby your gear and protect it from any possible harm? Or you go out there and shoot even in the harshest conditions?
Some people worry about the gear so much that they don’t even put it to use when there’s a bit of rain. It’s understandable up to some point, but it has some downsides for your photography. If you belong to this group, you may find this video from Thomas Heaton enlightening. It explains why you should stop worrying and just go out there and shoot, no matter the conditions.
It’s natural (and necessary) that you take care of your gear. But many people take too much care and avoid taking photos at even a hint of rain. This includes me as well, but I’ll get to that. Thomas explains that you should overcome this fear, and start taking photos in different weather and environment, and not only when the conditions are perfect.
Your gear will break
Of course, your gear might break, and at some point, it will. But if (or when) this happens – you’ll know that it got broken because you used it and took great photos with it. Sometimes, the resulting images are worth the risk.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be careless. You should clean all your gear and accessories properly and keep it in good shape. But once it’s clean and ready to shoot, it should get dirty from being used, not from collecting dust on the shelf. Also, keep in mind that most modern cameras are pretty resistant and they can handle some rain, cold and dirt from time to time.
Why we are overprotective
I get Thomas’ point, and I agree with it. But on the other hand, I totally understand people who are overprotective towards their gear. I fall into this group, and I rarely take shots when it’s too cold or when it’s raining. The only reason for this is – money. And I believe I’m not alone.
I understand that photo equipment can be repaired and replaced – but it costs money. So I’m willing to risk some great shots in return for saving money on repair or replacing my camera or lenses. After all, I don’t live from photography, which is probably where I got this mindset. If I earned money from it, I might have a different point of view and risk more. But now, I get nervous when I’m out with the camera and it starts raining, even though I have a waterproof bag and the camera itself is pretty resilient. I know chances are weak it will break, but I can’t help it.
Get the balance right
I believe the point of the video is that you should have in mind gear is replaceable. You can always repair things that get broken, or buy new ones – if you have money, of course. But even if you don’t, this could change your mindset. You can at least embrace the fact that the gear will get damaged or broken someday, regardless of the reason.
On the one hand, you should use the camera, lenses and other stuff for what it was made, no matter the conditions. It could get you some great shots you’d otherwise miss. On the other hand, clean and maintain them regularly, protect them and be cautious with them. You can also ensure the gear and be on the safe side. The difference between being irresponsible and overprotective is huge, but you should aim at finding a happy medium.
[I Broke Another Camera – I Don’t Care| Thomas Heaton]